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Manjhi’s I-Day speech echoes Modi’s

- PM talks of bank accounts for poor, CM sets time frame to open them

Patna, Aug. 16: Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Independence Day speech seemed to carry on from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi left.

Addressing the nation in his maiden Independence Day speech from the Red Fort in New Delhi on Friday, Modi announced bank accounts for poor people. At Gandhi Maidan in Patna a little later, Manjhi, in his maiden Independence Day speech, set a time frame in which to start camps to help the poor open the accounts.

The state government runs several welfare schemes for the poor in which money is handed to beneficiaries. But because of middlemen, beneficiaries do not always get the full amount, Manjhi said.

“To check middlemen from taking away beneficiaries’ money, the state government wants the money to be directly transferred into their bank accounts. We welcome the central government’s initiative to open bank accounts for every poor household… The state will hold camps in every village with the help of officials, employees and volunteers to open accounts for those who don’t have them,” Manjhi said.

After opening the accounts, funds from welfare schemes would be transferred directly into the accounts, he said. “The poor would also get overdraft facility if they transact (withdraw or deposit money from/into the bank) regularly. They would get freedom in real terms after there is financial inclusion. I appeal to the people living in 45,000 villages to participate in the camps starting next month for opening of bank accounts,” he said.

Prime Minister Modi on Friday announced the launch of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana under which a bank account would be opened for the poor with debit card facility and an insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh for the family. This was one of various announcements the Prime Minister made.

Outlining the achievements of the JDU government in the state, Manjhi said the state government took several initiatives in the field of health, education and agriculture and to strengthen the economic situation of the state.

The state’s plan outlay rose from Rs 4,300 crore in 2005-06 to Rs 40,100 crore in 2014-15. The state’s revenue collection, too, rose from Rs 3,500 crore in 2005-06 to Rs 25,000 crore in 2014-15. Not just that, the state’s budget estimate crossed Rs 1 lakh crore for the first time, being pegged at Rs 1.16 lakh crore now, he said.

Enumerating his achievement and initiatives taken to strengthen the energy sector, Manjhi said: “We have been able to bring substantial improvement in the energy sector. The government is committed to take electricity to every household and we are going ahead on it. The state’s transmission capacity has increased from 1,700MW to 3,000MW and would be enhanced to 4,500MW in the next year.”

The government has been working simultaneously on generation, transmission and distribution and work on several schemes worth Rs 14,000 crore to strengthen the distribution system is currently under way, he said.

Manjhi also talked about according special category status to Bihar and reiterated his demand before the Centre.

Energy and special category status were pet themes for Manjhi’s predecessor Nitish Kumar too. In his Independence Day address in 2012, then chief minister Nitish had said he would not seek votes during the 2015 Assembly elections if he fails to bring substantial improvement in the power sector.

Manjhi also said Industrial Incentive Policy 2011 is undergoing mid-term review to make it more attractive to potential industrial investors in the state.

About floods, Manjhi said the government was keeping close tabs on monsoon and crop acreage. “Though there has been good news on rainfall in the past three-four days, I assure you (people) the government would take every possible step to help out farmers in drought-affected areas.”

Other plans

Nod for Scheduled Tribe Armed Women’s Battalion or Bihar Swabhiman Police Battalion

‘Baal Kuposhan Mukt Bihar’ campaign to give children (0-3 years) better health, education

Skill development of 1 crore youths in five years

Mahadalits to be trained


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